Dear Christine, I came out as a lesbian when I was rather young, 16. I wasn’t entirely positive that I was gay, but I thought it was the right thing to do. I have managed to carry relationships with girls, albeit not always the healthiest. However, I have always questioned my sexuality. My current situation is this: I am dating a wonderful woman whom I love dearly, but can’t always seem to be satisfied sexually. I imagine the god–forsaken penis. I believe my only solution is to probably experiment with the opposite sex–I am a hetero–virgin. However, my fear of losing her is high and makes me sick. We’ve done this dating thing twice now and a third time is definitely NOT a charm. Should I risk my relationship and experiment with or without her knowledge, despite the consequences that may arise? Unsatisfied in Utica
Dear Unsatisfied, For any relationship, honesty needs to be a foundation. That starts with being honest with yourself, about who you really are and what you really need in a relationship. If you want to figure out who you are and what satisfies you, it’s best if you keep your relationship honest as well. To go behind your partner’s back and experiment with hetero sex puts your and your partner’s health at risk, exposing both of you to STDs and AIDS, as well as contributing to the drama of cheating on her. Talk to her about what you’re going through and let her know what you’re feeling about her and needing from her. She needs to make this choice to stay with you while you experiment and learn about yourself, or move on by herself.
Your confusion is completely understandable and normal. Many of us have gone through such questions and struggles, trying to figure out who we really are. It’s important to answer these personal questions so you can feel comfortable being yourself in whatever relationship you choose to be in. If not trying hetero sex is going to cause you to resent your girlfriend, that can destroy the relationship. Talk to your girlfriend about your questions and concerns, and accept the lesser risk of her not waiting around for you to find your answers, rather than risk everything with dishonesty with someone you respect.
We seem to understand who we are in stages, based on what we’re aware of, what we experience and what we know. I know I thought I knew myself in my 20s, but in my 30s, I realized some new things about myself that were also true, but changed who I was attracted to and would be with in a committed relationship. I’m not sure we ever finish getting to know who we are, but with time and experience, we get a better idea of what works for us and what doesn’t. Don’t limit yourself if that will nag at you and cause resentment and frustration. Be open and honest with your girlfriend, and encourage her to be likewise with you. What you learn and discover may surprise you both!
Keep in touch,
Christine C Cantrell, PhD.
Prism of Possibilities Psychotherapy
1026 W. Eleven Mile Road, Suite C
Royal Oak, Michigan 48067